Joy to the world a gay male has come out! NFL draft prospect and NCAA All-American defensive end Michael Sam came out of the closet as he prepares to enter the NFL. Sam has the opportunity as phrased by the NY Times to "become a symbol for the country's gay rights movement or a flashpoint in the football culture war - or both." Newsflash: he only became news because the media is making this news. He is only going to become a flashpoint if the media makes him a flashpoint. As far as a symbol for the gay rights movement, what right is he an advancement of? The right to make millions with a 65% chance of going broke and possibly earning brain injuries? Cool. All that matters is can he play.
The NFL will employ anyone who can play. Vehicular homicide? Sure. Drug problems? Okay. Alcoholic who beats his wife? No problem, you might even win the man of the year award. Drug trafficking conviction or murder charge? The Ravens will hire you. Accused rapist? Shhh, a few might be lurking in the locker room. Run a dogfighting ring, kill dogs, gamble across state lines and impede an investigation while getting busted for weed in unrelated events? Hell, ESPN will tell fans they are racist if they do not accept him. Can you play? That is all that matters. Locker rooms are full of meatheads and psychopaths, but if you can play, you suit up and all's well.
Sam serves a purpose, and that is for the media types to gleefully raise up this "one" outstanding college player and say, "see, gay guys can be macho football players. They're the same as straight men". Not quite but in their sick minds it is proof that the exception proves the rule. This is also important right now because the NFL Combine starts in one week in Indianapolis, which is a huge offseason event for the NFL. Every GM and coach will be pestered with the "do you think it matters" question. The media is sharpening their knives because a year ago, it was hinted that Manti Teo might be gay and that might hurt his draft stock. Now the media can goad teams into making sure this guy is drafted exactly where he deserves because if he isn't the media gets to write stories about his coming out hurting his draft position, proving the NFL is run by homophobes.
Coordinated? How could anyone suggest this was coordinated and timed just right? Michael Sam generates over 1 billion results on Google right now. ESPN airs the interview right as the US media is chastising the Russians for anti-gay laws. Priming Americans to dislike Russia for simple anti-gay laws right before this young man's courageous coming out for the NFL Combine put the NFL in a pickle. The media will be there with shiv in hand to gut the evil, macho NFL for any false step or verbal slip. Don't believe this was coordinated? Read this nice backstory on how the coming out story broke. This was extremely well planned by his agents and the media. Note the important thing buried in there early on: his teammates embraced him. They did not care. How he performed on the field, leading them throughout the season on the defensive side of the ball is what mattered. We don't care. What we do care is using one guy to shove the progressive "assimilate or be destroyed" mentality of the press. Good luck in your career Michael Sam.